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Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro Photoblast

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Twisted Tuesdays: Semana Santa

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Also known as “Holy Week” this Catholic festival takes place before Easter every year in parts of Spain and Latin America.

If you have watched “American Horror Story: Coven” the creepy pointed hoods in the intro will be familiar:

Referred to as capirotes, these cloaks are used by Nazarenos which are chosen penitents of a sacred Catholic brotherhood. The color of their vestments and the sigil they wear depends on which brotherhood they belong to.

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by Carlos Márquez

by Carlos Márquez

The Semana Santa procession is grand to say the least, with thousands of people gathering around the churches, holding up elaborate religious floats, Jesus on a cross, and an army of pointed hooded figures holding candles and scepters…it’s like a scene from some medieval Illuminati movie or Holy Mountain.

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semana santa procession

by Josef Koudelka

by Josef Koudelka

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Jose Ortiz Echague, 1940

Jose Ortiz Echague, 1940

This year Semana Santa takes place April 13-20.


Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro News Roundup, April Fools’ Edition!

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What’s fake and what’s real? Does it even make a difference? Here’s the latest weird news, hot off the internet!

  • NETFLIX unveils awesome “Cage Mode” films!

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  • Darth Vader is running for president of the Ukraine!

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Speaking of Florida

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  • The spaghetti harvest goes forward in Switzerland!

Happy April Fools’ Day, Bizarros! Do you have a favorite prank or hoax?

This is definitely a classic:


Twisted Tuesdays: Nightmare hunting with M dot Strange!

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In a town that never changes, children must work and adults get to play. But something is really off about this place called “Lantern Town”…first of all, there are only five children in the whole town and their job is to go out every night to look for monsters. The grownups are pretty creepy with painted on smiles who agree with everything they are told by their sleazy mayor. They drink all day and hang out at the “Lantern House” where shady decadent shit goes down.

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Things literally run like clockwork until a strange man comes into town and changes everything. Nightmares are unleashed and the children are forced to face their fears which includes M dot’s signature chaos battles with crazy monsters and epic bosses.

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Ever since I came across a copy of We Are The Strange several years back, I’ve been a big fan of M dot Strange’s work. His animation is not only trippy and unique but he’s 100% independent, making 3 full-length feature animations by himself!

Typically, I’m a total pirate and torrent the shit out of movies, TV shows, and music, but when I see an independent artist making something I really enjoy that blows my tits off, I support them if/when I have the money. Thankfully, I had just gotten paid as soon as I am Nightmare Deluxe Edition was officially released so I was able to buy it and watch it immediately. I had been following M dot’s creative process through his twitter and was really looking forward to seeing the finished product. I am Nightmare did not disappoint. It was great to see how much M dot Strange’s animation has progressed since his first movie, focusing more on story and characters than his previous films, and further developing his computer animation skills with the hours upon hours of practice he’s had.

M dot was nice enough to answer some questions about being a totally independent animator, as well as his inspiration and his nightmares!

M dot Strange by iniZny


1) There is a reoccurring theme in all of your movies with dolls and the underdog having to battle this giant video game-like boss. Is this theme influenced by you being a completely independent filmmaker battling the big boss of the entertainment industry?

Doing what I do the way I do it, I guess I do feel like I’m this tiny speck competing with and going up against this giant scary machine, so that tends to show up in my stuff. Also observing the giant machine that is the status quo pulverizing people day after day can’t help but seem like the biggest most terrifying monster looming over us all everyday- it’s the ultimate bad guy-

2) What inspired I am Nightmare and your other films?

I am Nightmare was really inspired by me having grown up as a kid who thought he knew better with his life choices but was constantly told by people older/richer/more experienced than me that the world was a certain way and that’s how it would always be and that I was foolish to try and do something outside of its rules- to me “reality” is a nightmare here in the United States- what started out as the “American Dream” is now a nightmare that helps terrorize the whole world- meanwhile most people here just go about their lives like everything is great- to some people its a dream-to most its a nightmare- it was also inspired by the Nietzsche book “Antichrist“- what I got from that book was that in order to be a true artist or someone that causes change you have to become what the status quo would call the Antichrist- or a nightmare to their dream as I used it- my other films were inspired by small real life events that I spun into strange fantasy scenarios- We Are the Strange was inspired by a cat crying in a warehouse I walked by at night once- Heart String Marionette was inspired by a dream I had about inanimate objects coming to life as I walked by them.

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3) Why did you decide to go gonzo and make your movies independently instead of selling your soul and becoming a slave to some big studio?

I do this because I love doing it- I’ve never done it because I wanted to be rich or famous- its just the most interesting thing I’ve found to do with my time and life- I’m trying to make the best stuff I can with integrity- I had my chances to “go Hollywood” but the people I was meeting with from that industry- I found them mostly to be classless, talentless buffoons who only got their positions of power because of who they knew or who they were related too- that’s bullshit- if I don’t like people, or I think they’re frauds, I can’t/don’t pretend, I just walk away. And the people in the power positions in Hollywood seem like a bunch of frauds to me who only care about making money.

4) How do you fund your films?

There’s not much to fund- since I do everything- funding my films involves keeping me alive, having a place to live + utilities, food to eat and computers to use- and I do that by any means necessary- sales of my various wares- freelance jobs- charity from my family/friends- living cheap- the only non life expense for I am Nightmare was the $1500 I spent paying voice actors and I raised that money through donations- so the budget on I am Nightmare was $1500- this past year and a half I put all the money in Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies I hope that continues to grow than I could use that to fund my stuff- this past week I’ve been selling computer parts on ebay for money.

5) You made a promise to yourself and your fans that you would make I am Nightmare in a year and would subsequently make a movie a year from now on. It takes a major studio company several years to complete an animated movie. Why did you decide to do that to yourself?

I realized that even though its a lot of work for me to make one or two or three films- in the big picture that’s nothing to a film fan- I realized I need to have 7-10 feature films out there to get peoples attention- to really get things going for my film career- With I am Nightmare I wanted to see if it was possible and I did it so one a year seemed like a good way to make sure I get a lot of my work out there- but I’m already going back on my word as I am Nightmare hasn’t sold as many copies as I thought so I can’t live off of it for very long at all and I can’t bank on my next film doing that either so in 2014 I’m focusing on starting my own online film school and making and selling video games- once I have that stuff going and making steady money than I can fuck around for another year on a movie- I’m hoping I’ll be able to do another movie in 2015 though- its technically possible for me to make a new movie every year + games + music + a lot of other things IF I have to funding so its my goal to secure that first.

6) You mentioned in your youtube video that you also want to work on video games as well. You also make music and are known to put out an entire album while working on making a movie. How do you manage to do all that? What projects are you working on right now?

Yeah before I was a failed filmmaker I was a failed musician now I hope to be a failed game designer haha- I love music and films and I’ve always loved a good game- I started with music the same time I started doing films and they just grew with each other as audio/music skills really help film production- now with the video game thing- I always thought the tools were too difficult because I’m not a programmer but in the past three weeks I’ve been teaching myself game design making two joke games already “Dicks will fall on your head‘ and “Robots are dicks” my mind kind of exploded as I got these basic game making skills- I’ve got about 12 different games ideas and I’m working on one now- so this year its all about video games for me but I’ll probably kick out one or two music albums as well as if I don’t make music for too lang I go kinda crazy but yeah I’d like to take the worlds/experiences/emotions I create in my films and make them playable experiences for people as games- I’m really excited by the possibilities now I just need to learn the tools-

7) What is your ultimate nightmare?

Since I’m a control freak..it probably have something to do with slavery- not having my own free will to do what I want- or being a little kid and having some stupid religious fanatic parent running my life…

You can watch the first 15 minutes of I am Nightmare here:

If you like what you see, I highly recommend purchasing the full movie and M dot’s other movies to help fund his future projects. He is the only person I know of who has managed to create 3 animated features on his own and has 0 interest in selling out to Hollywood! A typical animated feature takes hundreds of people and millions of dollars! M dot Strange is proof that complete artistic freedom and independence is not only possible and a better choice, but based on the shit that major entertainment corporations are shelling out, supporting independent artists is necessary if you want art that will wake you up and inspire you instead of enslave your mind.


Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro Short Film Festival

“Mouthful” by MyNameIsSwann

This first Bizarro short is pretty much Batman with clowns. I love clowns.

A beautifully made, dark, creepy, stop-motion animation about birth and decay.

Avey Tare from Animal Collective created this music video to promote his album “Enter the Slasher House.” Little Fang, the cat vampire-looking puppet, is from the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and there is a serious nod to The Forbidden Zone.

A short by Harmony Korine!

A Texas sheriff battles aliens who want to snatch everyone’s thumbs. A very Bizarro stop-motion animation!

If you’ve never heard of Meatball Machine, here’s the plot:

“Yōji is a young lonely factory worker who falls for an equally lonely girl co-worker, Sachiko, but is unable to tell her of his interest. After he is assaulted in a theater by a crossdresser, Yōji finds what looks like an alien insect and hides it in his room. The next night, he comes across Sachiko being sexually attacked by another fellow worker. He attempts to come to her aid but is beaten. Sachiko feels sorry for him and returns with him to his apartment. During this encounter, Sachiko is attacked by the alien object which penetrates her and turns her into a bio-mechanical monster, a NecroBorg. These parasites take over human bodies and use their flesh to create weapons which they use to fight each other. Yōji is also infected and the plot eventually leads to a showdown fight to the death between the two would-be lovers. A side plot concerns a father who is out to kill the NecroBorgs who have also infected his daughter.”

I had to cut and paste that from wikipedia because really there’s no way in hell I would have been able to explain it using my own words. There really aren’t any words. Anyway, this rock-video-like short is a prequel to the movie and will help explain the movie better…or at least I think it’s supposed to. If you like Troma-esque Japanese campy splatter randomness, you’ll love this:

Until next time Bizarros!


Twisted Tuesdays: Antlers & Horror

Hannibal, CBS

Hannibal, CBS

Antlers are a predominant image in the “Hannibal” television series. It is represented in connection to the Wendigo, a metaphor for Hannibal Lecter himself. The Wendigo is an antlered demonic cannibalistic spirit in Algonquian legend. There is also a mental disorder called the “Wendigo Psychosis” in which the main symptom is a strong craving for human flesh. 

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Hannibal, CBS

The antlers in Hannibal are then used to represent Hannibal’s cravings and killings. Dead bodies displayed on antlers is a consistent visual element which is very striking and even sadistically artistic.

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Of course I was bombarded by the internet hype over the “True Detective” series and decided to give it a try. I couldn’t get past the first episode, I found it rather dull. But I found it interesting that the first dead body shown had antlers.

True Detective, HBO

True Detective, HBO

Of course since I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the show in the first place, I merely assumed they were ripping off “Hannibal.” “Hannibal” creator, Brian Fuller, addressed this in an interview at the Television Critics Association winter press tour:

“Anybody who saw Salem’s Lot in 1979 where James Mason impaled that guy on the antlers, it’s probably all coming from that traumatic experience in our childhoods, I imagine they probably saw the same thing that inspired, you know, the imagery in this show.”

via The Wrap

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I haven’t watched Salem’s Lot but I will now! Here are some more examples of antlers used in horror:

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

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Caesar & Otto’s Deadly Xmas (2013)

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The Lost Boys, (1987)

More surreal than horror but David Lynch always counts…

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Of course a horror movie about the Wendigo would have antlers. You can watch the full Wendigo film here:

Are there other examples of antlers used in horror movies and shows, or scenes of death by antlers?


Meanwhile in Japan…


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Put the glasses on!

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Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro News Roundup!

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 Another victim came forward over the weekend, the fourth woman accusing 42-year-old Christopher Pagano of his cheesy trick: Exposing his penis while asking victims to pleasure him with Swiss cheese. Police and witnesses, who have dubbed him the “Swiss Cheese Pervert,” say the man has been terrorizing residents in Mayfair, Penn. since the beginning of January.

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http://youtu.be/pqF2Lr8RkDk

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http://youtu.be/Re3DZi-DFrc

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One of these days…

Until next time Bizarros!


Twisted Tuesdays: Animated Gif Apocalypse

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eye pop

horses

 

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Twisted Tuesday: Vintage Knife Throwing

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Also known as the “impalement arts,” throwing knives at a human target dates back to the 1st century and has been commonly seen in vaudeville acts, carnivals, and circus sideshows. This great art is still practiced today. The Great Throwdini is currently the fastest and most famous impalement artist in the world!

A common myth about impalement art is that the knives really aren’t being thrown and are instead hidden under the knife thrower’s sleeve as a rigged board springs up with knives along the human target. This is actually false. Knife throwers are really throwing those knives and there is definitely some real danger involved. Typically, the one in danger is a beautiful woman:

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But that’s not always the case…

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Anyone who has ever watched “Wonder Showzen” will be familiar with this cute little cherub-faced girl having knives thrown at her in the intro. This footage comes from a 50′s knife throwing act where Louella Gallagher, a Texas mother, would throw knives at her 5 and 2 1/2 year-old daughters: Connie Ann & and Colleena Sue. This newsreel of this 50′s knife throwing family is a great vintage gem.

The Gallaghers weren’t the only child-target impalement art acts, there was also Florence Shufflebottom, who not only practiced knife throwing, but also sharpshooting and snake charming.

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If you’re a fan of vintage carnivals, this BBC documentary, which features an interview with Florence Shufflebottom (damn that’s a great name) is terrific! It has loads of great carnival footage and history.

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Until next time Bizarros!


Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro Photoblast

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“Hamlet” by Sam Weber

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“Better Stay In Bed” by Orioto

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“It’s More Seet Now” by ErinEatsTheKids

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“Portrait of Civilization” by Lieko Shiga

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Cannibal Holocaust, directed by Ruggero Deodato (1980)

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The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1980)

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X-ray of murder victim, Chen Liu, found by 2 children in Sydney, 2009.

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Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro Animated Short Festival

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Nothing is more soothing and inspiring than a dose of weird animation. Just like with Bizarro fiction, there are things you can do in animation that can be impossible to recreate in real life. Not only are all these shorts bizarre and well-crafted, they also convey ideas without the use of dialogue. Hopefully these are new to you, or if not, they are fun to rewatch. I recommend viewing them in full screen for maximum effect.

Let’s start you off with this short about a voodoo doll who rescues his friends from the fate of all voodoo dolls. It might make you hesitate the next time you pick up that pin…

Why did the red Furby-looking critter cross the road? Another excellent stop-motion animation from Zealous Creative.

The latest tripped-out animation from cyriak involves hallucinogenic chimpanzees.

I love stop-motion animation, especially when it involves creepy white clay beings with black melted eyes that remind me of art by Olivier de Sagazan.  Scott Walker‘s beautifully haunting crooning fits perfectly.

An antlered skull creature limp-runs through a glitchy CGI world of LSD-inspired chaos.

There is an Alice in Wonderland quality to this last short. Instead of a rabbit hole, the protagonist falls through a surreal 3D hospital in search of beauty.

Are there any short animated movies that you’ve enjoyed recently? Feel free to share them!


Royals

I have a thing for clowns…


Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro News Roundup!

Unfortunately, the story about Gordon Ramsay’s midget porn star double being eaten by badgers was an old hoax but damn that was one hell of a headline!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on the weird shit happening around the world so here’s the latest Bizarro news!

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Until next time Bizarros!


Twisted Tuesdays: The Tokoloshe

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As I mentioned in a post about Krampus, kids need something to scare the shit out of them to not only get them to not be shitheads, but also because scaring the shit out of kids with stories of supernatural creatures that will get them for misbehaving is a fun tradition we should continue to uphold. It’s healthy for them.

In South Africa, there is a boogeyman/demon-like creature which varies in appearance. Some people say it is like a small hairy human, some say more like a dog, others say it’s a shape-changing vampire spirit…it seems to depend on what their grandmother told them. One thing is for sure, if a kid is being a real pain in the ass in South Africa, then the Tokoloshe will be sure to take their ass away unless they listen to their elders.

But the Tokoloshe doesn’t just terrorize children, it can cause a lot of evil and mischief for adults as well. There are reports of horny Tokoloshe that force themselves on victims, Tokoloshe that steal, and even ones that murder.

I first heard about the Tokoloshe in Die Antwoord’s “Evil Boy” music video. There is a dancing Tokoloshe with a huge dangling cock.

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Ninja and Yo-landi made a video with VICE, asking people in their neighborhood about what the Tokoloshe is. They even speak to a witch doctor and a journalist from The Daily Sun to learn more about this mysterious, mischievous monster. The story Ninja tells about his nanny putting bricks under her bed because of the Tokoloshe is creepy.

Africarve made this cool Tokoloshe puppet in case you want to sic them on any brats:

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Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro Photoblast!

Which pictures speak to you? What do they say?

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Twisted Tuesdays: Vintage Faces of War

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Plastic surgery dates back to Ancient Egypt where the dead were given enhanced cheekbones and noses, or in the case of King Tut, glorious boners that have lasted through the ages that are still mystifying the people of today. But it wasn’t until WWI & WWII, when doctors were working to treat soldiers mangled during battle, that plastic surgery truly took off.

The medical innovations during that time had a great impact on the current surgical technology used today. And of course the pictures of the soldiers who had their faces reconstructed in the early 1900′s are incredible given the severity of their injuries and the medical capabilities of that time period. Even by today’s standards where total facial reconstruction is still being improved upon, the end results of facial reconstructive surgeries back then are remarkable.

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“Records of the pioneering plastic surgery performed by Dr Harold Gillies on WWI soldiers William M. Spreckley, a Lieutenant from the Sherwood Foresters Service in the British contingent, 16th battalion. He was Gillies’ 132nd patient and was admitted to the hospital in January 1917 at the age of 33 with a ‘gunshot wound nose’. He was discharged three and a half years later in October 1920″

via The Telegraph

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Four photographs documenting the facial reconstruction of a solider who’s cheek was extensively wounded during the Battle of the Somme (July 1916). Taken from ‘Plastic surgery of the face : based on selected cases of war injuries of the face including burns’ (1920) by H D Gillies ; with chapter on the prosthetic problems of plastic surgery by Capt. W Kelsey Fry; and remarks on anaesthesia by Capt. R Wade.

Source

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Walter Yeo, a sailor injured at the Battle of Jutland, is assumed to be the first person to receive plastic surgery in 1917. The photograph shows him before (left) and after (right) receiving a flap surgery performed by Gillies.

Lieutenant Norman Eric Wallace

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Extreme reconstructive surgery. Name of patient unknown.

If you’ve watched Boardwalk Empire, you will be familiar with Richard Harrow, a WWI veteran with half his face missing. He wears a facial prosthetic and is a sharpshooting badass.

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His character was inspired by real World War I soldiers who had artists recreate missing parts of their face.

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vintage prosthetic

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The “Tin Nose Shop” in London where realistic masks were created to help wounded soldiers. Smithsonian Magazine has an excellent article about this called “Faces of War.”

There is also footage of this “shop,” the film is originally silent but someone added some music that you might wish to replace or mute depending on your personal taste in such things…


Twisted Tuesdays: 80′s New Year Horror Double Feature!

Crypt-Keeper-New-Years1

What better way to celebrate another meaningless holiday than with some old school slasher films? Here are two horror classics that take place on New Year’s Eve:

First up is the classic Terror Train. Starring scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, this is a great film about a group of college kids who are having a NYE costume party on a moving train with a crazed masked killer on board who wants revenge!terror train

Next up is New Year’s Evil about Blaze, a punk rock TV host who is having a rockin’ NYE’s television countdown when she receives a call live on the air from a guy called “Evil” who makes a New Year’s resolution to murder someone at midnight in each time zone. He starts by killing women Eastern Standard Time and quickly makes his way to the West side where Blaze is the murderer’s grand New Year’s finale.

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NYE

Happy New Year Bizarros! May the new year be even more bizarre and twisted than the last!


Twisted Tuesdays: Fuck X-mas With a Chainsaw

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Twisted Tuesdays: Krampus Storms Through Los Angeles!

Kids these days don’t know true fear. They are sheltered from anything remotely scary. Even modern mainstream horror films are watered down and unoriginal. They’ve become stupid monster/ghost comedies and shitty remakes starring people you wish would get their heads hacked off the first 30 seconds the movie begins.

Back in the good ole’ days, parents were all about scaring the shit out of their kids to keep them from acting like spoiled little cunts and it worked. The original Grimms’ fairy tales were horror stories for children which taught them the reality of death and to fucking behave through tales of kids getting chopped up and eaten.

Hansel and Gretel by Arthur Rackham 1909.

Hansel and Gretel by Arthur Rackham 1909.

One of the greatest examples of the proper way to scare the shit out of kids is the legend of Krampus. Originating in Europe 1,500 years ago and still properly venerated in Austria and other Alpine countries, Krampus is a devil-like creature armed with a switch and/or sack who accompanies St. Nicholas early December. He punishes the bad children by either swatting them or taking them away in his sack while St. Nicholas rewards the good kids with gifts. This differs heavily from how the U.S. celebrates the holiday season because American kids receive presents no matter what and there aren’t any repercussions if they misbehave.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Throughout Austria and Germany, the annual Krampusnach has kept the Krampus tradition alive. People dress in epic demonic costumes reminiscent of something you’d see in a metal music video, stomping through towns, scaring and exciting children and adults alike.

Photo by Cathleen Cotter Photography

Photo by Cathleen Cotter Photography

Sometimes the festival can get a bit out of hand…

Recently, Krampus has grown in popularity outside of Europe, making its way to American cities like Portland and is now in Los Angeles thanks to creators Al Guerrero and Al Ridenour, who are also head deviants of the infamous Cacophony society.

Where Krampus still prowls during the Yuletide season, children are still raised with a healthy fear of being punished for being shitheads. Bringing back this tradition which forces children, and adults, to earn good tidings, and fear the wrath for any wrong-doings, is what helped spark the first annual Krampus Los Angeles!

Photo by Cathleen Cotter Photography

Photo by Cathleen Cotter Photography

This festival not only does a remarkable job of bringing the tradition of Krampus to California, but adds its own Los Angeles twist through a Krampus ballKrampus runKrampus art show, and even Krampus-themed bands like THE KRAMPS, SANTA KLAUS NOMI, DJ KRAMPWERK, and KRAMMPSTEIN!

Photo by Mumbly-Jumbly Mumblety-Peg

Photo by Mumbly-Jumbly Mumblety-Peg

The Los Angeles Krampus festival is a month-long event headed by Al Guerrero and Al Ridenour, who have been working tirelessly to get the true spirit of Krampus going in their home city in hopes of making it an annual Hell-A tradition.

Costumes L-R: Al Ridenour, Al Ridenour, Al Guerrero, Joe Borfo. Photo: Phil Glau

Al Ridenour went to Austria last year during the Krampus festival and had a chance to witness the traditions surrounding Krampus as well as learn some secrets about the making of a Krampus costume, which is a very involved process:

Each handmade traditional costume, consisting of up to 14 separate sheep or goat skins, takes three dress makers one day to produce, and costs between 500 – 600 euros. Some 15 hours are needed for a woodcarver to sculpt each demon mask which is made from stone pine wood with goat horns attached.

via The Atlantic

Al was kind enough to step away from the Krampus event-planning frenzy to answer some questions about the Krampus festival which is is still underway:

Photo by Mumbly-Jumbly Mumblety-Peg

Photo by Mumbly-Jumbly Mumblety-Peg

So I read that a Krampus got a bit unruly at the Krampus ball. What does one have to do in order to cross the Krampus line?

Oh, I think it’s Krampus’ who pushes the line under you. Our friend Mike from Rosemary’s Billygoat was performing as part of The Kramps, a Krampus-costumed Cramps cover band and took a stage dive that went a bit wrong. I believe it was a case of his being overridden by the spirit of Krampus. Once you get in those suits, something happens. Krampus takes over.  Ambulances are summoned.

This might be a leading question but did you sense a BDSM vibe when checking out the traditional Krampus festival in Austria and is that what drew you to it?

I wasn’t aware of that. Or not very. Come to think of it, I also made a trip several years ago to see the Penitentes flog themselves on Good Friday in Taos Mexico, so last year’s outing to see Krampus would be my second whip-oriented cultural sightseeing trip. But of course these are very different things. Krampus whippings are really just devilish playfulness. Historically, the Church borrowed a pre-Christian practice where whippings were administered as a form of good luck (an ancient idea preserved in our idea of birthday spankings). The figure administering the whippings didn’t change much, but he was teamed with Saint Nicholas, and the meaning of the whippings changed into punishment for sins.

Is there an ideal female version of Krampus besides a female wood demon with tits?

I am trying to picture the “wood demon with tits,” and it is eluding me, but in a pleasant way. But the Krampus folklore is actually intimately tied in with a very important female figure, a sort of witch queen. In the Austrian Alpine regions where the Krampus originates, they called her Frau Perchta, and her entourage was called the Perchten, some of who were good and others bad. She came at year’s end to bring both blessings and punishments and was represented with two faces: one facing forward and beautiful, and the other crone-like and facing backward. The Church didn’t have room for this sort of ambivalence, and demoted the goddess to a witch, and her followers to devils. So these bad Perchten were the origin of the Krampus. As you might imagine, the Frau Perchta figure is becoming popular again as a figure of female empowerment as in this Salzburg exhibition by artist/photographer h. rogra.

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What do people typically have to do in your mind in order to be punished by Krampus, kids and adults, as I suspect their sins might differ?

At least nowadays, kids are merely threatened by Krampus, intimidated with a crazy display of rattling chains and clanking cowbells and switch-swinging. That’d be when Krampus visits the house with St. Nicholas. But in the Krampuslauf, the public events where herds of Krampus run down the streets, it’s all about smacking adults, never kids, and honestly it’s mostly young men in costumes smacking young women. In the old days, only men could not dress as a Krampus, and only as long as they were unmarried. In a particular Austrian valley, they even called the switches or rod that the Perchten would swing a “life rod,” (“Lebensrute”) I mean you don’t need Dr. Freud, to tease out the fertility subtext here.

Photo by Lulu Mari

Photo by Lulu Mari

You made several costumes this year for the festivities and stuck as close to the traditional method as you possibly could, will you do anything different next year to make your costume more authentic?

Yeah, I am not particularly good at carving, but I tried to make my masks (which are really made of cardboard, fiberglass, and epoxy products) look like chiseled wood. I like the masks from the more traditional areas that are carved from pine. Much as I like the traditional stuff, we have to adapt to our climate and what’s on the market here. So heavy wooden masks and leather goat hides with fur will probably never play a big role in our events here. This was our first year, and all the work our crew put into suits is really amazing, and everyone contributed their own problem-solving know-how with a variety of approaches. It’ll be interesting to see how we can synthesize all this next year to perhaps achieve more of a family resemblance between troupe members as well as to the authentic European prototypes.

Photo by Phil Glau

Krampus is mainstream now. I’m seeing it everywhere when it used to be a very niche thing, so what would you like the kids to take away from the meaning of Krampus?

Hmm… I will tell you my pet peeves that have resulted from this broadened exposure. The most common American misunderstandings would be pairing Krampus with Santa Claus when he’s really paired with Saint Nicholas, an entirely different figure associated with December 6, not the 25th. And referring to Krampus as “the anti-Santa,” when in fact, he is supposed to be the collaborative subordinate of St. Nicholas.

Photo by Phil Glau

And I felt compelled to write a whole article for Atlas Obscura delving into the conflicting visual representations of the figure, and how the turn-of-the-century postcards standardized him almost like Coke standardizing Santa Claus. The book “Krampus, the Yule Lord,” seems to have muddled things too, leaving American graphic artists or would-be costumers thinking of the creature as a slim sexy satyr with rock-star hair, or that he has something to do with Loki and Nordic mythology, which is simply a storytelling contrivance and nothing to do with the folklore. There’s even a silly movie out that treats the Krampus as a sort of cryptozoological X-files case. I think eventually America will develop its own somewhat standardized Krampus, just like we have our coke-swilling Santa vs. the UK’s Father Christmas. And being American, this figure will be based what sells. So we’ll get a composite figure stewed up from comic books, the label on Krampus beer, or the salesperson for skateboards, and tennis shoes. But our group is going to keep some touchpoint with the older tradition. Our group has already hosted talks by European participants who are interested in coming back with their costumes, and I’ll be giving my own slide lectures, and working on a folklore book. We’ll see what comes out of it all. I’m sure it will be an interesting mix of naughty, nice, and naughtier.

Photo by Cathleen Cotter Photography

If you are in Hell-A this month, you can see what Krampus events await via the official Krampus Los Angeles site. For those who can’t make it to the events, you can always check out the amazing pics and videos people are posting on the Facebook community.

Photo by Xian Pitt

Photo by Xian Pitt

Also Bizarro author, Troy Chambers, has made an incredible Krampus doll which is currently available to invade your naughty home…

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Gruß vom Krampus, Bizarros!


Twisted Tuesdays: Bizarro News Roundup!

bad santa

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juggalo

clowns

  • WTF IS that?


#Caturday

black cat cat driving cat skeleton

cat tree caturday bettie fashion

Horror cat

kitty trot snap tiger trippy cat

trippy kitty

 

Someone made a cute computer animation of “Wait Till Martin Comes” from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. They used the original audio version read by Alvin Schwartz himself! Have a great Caturday!


Twisted Tuesday: Society (1989)

Society (1)

An 80′s dude with a mullet feels like there is something really off about his family…his sister and parents are acting strange and no matter what he does, even being the quarterback of the football team and winning a high school debate, doesn’t impress them. Then he realizes his feelings are validated when he hears a strange recording from a friend. That’s when the setup of the first half of the movie ends up getting truly bizarre and the finale…well you just have to see it for yourself if you haven’t already. There is truly no ending like it in the history of cinema.

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A true classic that reflects how the rich feeds off the poor through ooze, sex, and tons of stretchy, flesh-colored latex, Society is a great film that belongs on your Bizarro movie shelf. You can watch it in its entirety here:


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